Free Press Journal

No role played by cops in builder Loharia’s murder:State to HC


Mumbai: The Maharashtra Government today informed the Bombay High Court that nothing incriminating had been found against the then Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner Ashok Sharma or any other officer in regard to their alleged nexus with the accused in the murder of builder Sunil Loharia.

This was revealed in a letter written by the Director General of Police (DGP) to Sandeep Loharia, son of the builder, on February 24.

A copy of this letter was submitted by pleader Aruna Pai to a bench headed by Justice P V Hardas which was hearing a PIL filed by activist Ketan Tirodkar for handing over the probe to CBI alleging that accused were shielded by police.

The letter said that Sandeep’s complaint against police officers, alleging their nexus with accused, had been forwarded to Mumbai Crime branch which is investigating the case and nothing incriminating had been found against police.

Sandeep had written a letter to DGP nearly a year ago alleging dubious role of Navi Mumbai police officers in the crime. He alleged that accused were protected by the police.

After the Government pleader produced this letter in the Court, the judges posted the matter for further hearing in their Chamber.

The Mumbai Crime branch, which is probing the case, had earlier handed over the case diaries in a sealed cover to the court. Police had also produced the call data records of purported telephonic talks between former Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner A K Sharma and absconding accused Anurag Garg.

The petitioner alleged that there was evidence with the authorities to show that Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner and a senior police inspector were in touch with the accused before and after Loharia’s murder in February 2013.

The petitioner alleged that rival builder Suresh Bijlani and architect Anurag Garg, both accused in the case, were spotted by Loharia’s son in the police station, where he had gone to lodge a complaint. Bijlani was later arrested and granted bail, while Garg is still absconding.

The probe was earlier being done by Navi Mumbai police, but later the case was transferred to Mumbai Crime Branch. Loharia was shot dead outside his Navi Mumbai office on February 16 last year.

Tirodkar said no efforts were being made to conduct a sincere probe as senior police officers were allegedly involved. On the contrary, he alleged, efforts were being made to shield the guilty. Hence, he was asking a CBI probe.

The PIL said Loharia had himself filed a petition in the high court alleging 600 illegal buildings in Navi Mumbai, including 21 towers being built illegally on Palm Beach Road.

Loharia had also urged the court that his petition be heard expeditiously as his life was in danger. Four days after that he was killed, Tirodkar said and produced a letter written by the victim in this regard to the court registrar.

Tirodkar alleged that Loharia’s son had also received a threat on phone warning him against filing police complaint.

The petitioner also alleged that there was political pressure on Loharia by a Maharashtra Cabinet Minister asking him not to take up the issue of illegal construction.